Football has a negative image across much of society; wanton wages, disorderly supporters, pampered players and a huge dichotomy between them and the real world. However, there may be a chance to bring football into a more respectable light; through a possibly unexpected method…
With the environmental issues faced by the modern world we are constantly looking towards ways in which we can mitigate against future climate challenges. Football may provide at least part of the answer.
Football has a worldwide influence and has the sort of gravitas that means people will follow what football sets as an example. The dedication to a football club is something that isn’t understood by those who don’t follow football, but it is a powerful pull that gives the club a significant and influential presence. This therefore means they have the potential to greatly dictate the environmental practices of millions of people!
There are a couple of examples of such initiatives in the footballing world that have really got going and set the ball rolling.
Ipswich being one such example, albeit 10 years ago, declared their intention to go carbon neutral. They calculated their carbon footprint as being 3,200 tonnes of CO2 per annum. They attempted to offset this figure combining with E-ON and using a website called ‘Save Your Energy For The Blues’, by asking fans to pledge to make their homes more efficient through multiple means such as energy-efficient light bulbs or buying hybrid cars. In total 14,500 Ipswich Town fans pledged to cut their energy usage! A number of schools also jumped aboard and saved a total of 250 tonnes of CO2 with their efforts. Players have also got involved leading the way with lifestyle changes and setting up a carpool system to get to training. (BBC)
Manchester City have also followed suit turning their stadium and training complex into one of the greenest in the world. After assessing a number of options they settled on wind power and partnered with ecotricity, erecting a 85 metre tall wind turbine outside the Etihad Stadium where they play their football. This wind turbine has reduced their carbon footprint by 3,500 tonnes and also produces more energy than is used by the stadium. This creates a surplus which is fed to the grid to be used by local homes and businesses. (BBC)
Both these illustrate the difference that a football club can make and with the amount of money and clubs all across the world; there’s absolutely no reason why this isn’t something that could be a realistic solution to part of the climate problem.
I’ll leave you with Forest Green Rovers. No, not a big club but an eco-friendly one doing everything in the right way; from selling purely Vegetarian food to their organic pitch to the 180 solar panels to their new eco friendly stadium well on the way to being constructed. Forest Green Rovers are leading the way, and set an example that I think clubs all across the country, and further afield should follow.
Above is a digital plan for Forest Green Rovers New completely wooden stadium vastly reducing its carbon footprint.